The All-Defensive teams for the NBA were announced today, and there was one Houston Rockets player that was noticeably absent. Should the forward for the team have been selected for the recognition?
The Houston Rockets are coming off of a season in which they were inconsistent all year on the defensive end of the court. They would have games where they looked dominant and games where it was practically a free path to the rim for the opposition.
One consistency throughout it all, though, was the defense of P.J. Tucker. While his 3-point shot came and went at times, he always was locked in on the defensive end and played every single game of the year for the Rockets.
His play on defense led several of his teammates to vocally speak out for him to be included on an All-Defensive team this season. While I personally felt like he got snubbed last season, this season would be even more of a travesty if he was left off.
He was, unfortunately. Tucker was just one second-place vote away from being tied with Kawhi Leonard, who played just 60 games this season. Obviously, Kawhi is a fantastic defender, but P.J. deserved the nod this year.
NBA announces All-Defensive teams: pic.twitter.com/BzLEVy3fcy
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) May 22, 2019
Let’s look at some reasons why Tucker deserved to be recognized.
The main cause for Tucker’s great defensive play is his pure versatility. He is able to guard practically every position and has personally played both forward positions and center for the Rockets, despite being just 6’5.
While P.J. typically is guarding the perimeter, locking down guards and some forwards. But his ability to step up and guard the bigger players is something that deserves to be awarded.
Like I said earlier, Tucker was able to play in all 82 games this year for the Houston Rockets. That’s the second season in a row for him to achieve that feat, but this time, he started every single one of them for the team.
It certainly wasn’t easy, though. Tuck’s style of play is physically demanding and he’s been banged up a bit, but still comes to work every day ready to defend at a high level. He isn’t a guy that will ever sit out for load management.
Best player-stopping ability
P.J. deserved to be on an All-Defensive team lastly because of his assignment every night. More times than not, Tucker is going to guard the best perimeter player on the other team. This tough task was made more well-known in the playoffs when he guarded Kevin Durant extremely well in the six-game series.
He always does a great job on the top guys and it’s a rare night where his matchup went off. That’s a huge reason why he was a snub once again this year, in my opinion (and many others, too).